Immunotherapies targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint axis are of growing interest for the treatment of mesenchymal neoplasms. However, PD-L1 expression and tumor-associated lymphocytes have not been well-investigated in uterine smooth muscle tumors. Forty-nine uterine smooth muscle tumors (23 leiomyosarcomas, 8 smooth muscle tumors of uncertain malignant potential [STUMP], 7 atypical leiomyomas, and 11 benign leiomyomas) were evaluated for tumoral and tumor-associated immune PD-L1 expression and tumor-associated T-cell infiltration. ALK immunohistochemistry was performed to exclude inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors. Tumor PD-L1 expression was seen in 70% of leiomyosarcomas and 14% of atypical leiomyomas; no cases of STUMP or benign leiomyoma demonstrated tumoral PD-L1. PD-L1 positivity was seen in tumor-associated immune cells in 78% of leiomyosarcomas, 25% of STUMP, no cases of atypical leiomyomas, and 9% of benign leiomyomas. Of the 23 leiomyosarcomas, 15 (65%) had a combined positive score ≥1, while of the 26 other uterine smooth muscle tumors, only 2 (8%) had a combined positive score ≥1. Tumor-associated CD8+ cells were highest among leiomyosarcomas (mean: 87/high-power fields vs. 17/high-power fields for nonleiomyosarcomas), and were significantly associated with PD-L1 expression. One PD-L1+, CD8-enriched leiomyosarcoma showed an ALK overexpression suggesting possible classification as inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, but otherwise lacked morphologic features of this entity. Leiomyosarcomas demonstrate significantly higher PD-L1 expression and cytotoxic T-cell infiltration when compared with other uterine smooth muscle tumors. These data suggest the possibility that treatment with targeted immunotherapy may be appropriate in a selected population of patients with leiomyosarcoma and, potentially, in related tumors bearing ALK rearrangements.
- atypial leiomyoma
- inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor
- smooth muscle tumor of uncertain significance
- tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes
- uterine smooth muscle tumor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine